Impressions: Spectre’s September Releases

September saw a pretty big set of releases for Spectre. With 5 separate sets covering a selection of collections, there really was something in it for everyone. More importantly, it added some more female figures and filled some capability gaps. 

Tier 1 Operator – Delta

 

We start with a new Tier 1 Operator. She looks just like her male counterparts, with SIG MCX, silenced pistol and fast mag equipped battle belt. She fits perfectly into the rest of the range and provides some variety to the squad. I’ve painted her up to match the rest of my Argo contractors (solid colour clothing, tan webbing), but she would also work well in an Agent or other undercover force.

Task Force Operators – Golf

Two more operators to the giant Task Force collection. These two are equipped the same as their colleagues, wearing body armour and fast helmet while carrying carbines with the trifecta of upgrades (red dot, laser and silencer). One is wearing a full size vest while the other just has a chest rig and carrying a kit bag, both packed full of gear. These figures fit

One thing to point out – with the figure with the carbine pointing down, I noticed it was quite easy to bend the weapon back and forth. I don’t think it will snap but it’s something to keep an eye on.

GRU RPG – Alfa

A key capability for any force is the ability to knock out armoured vehicle and fortified positions. Since release, the main way the Russian GRU had to do this was the pump action grenade launcher. Now, a Russian player can pick up this figure and have a light anti-armour weapon perfect for knocking out insurgent technicals or the SUV the VIP is riding in.

I really like this figure – from the crouching pose to slung PP19 SMG, he is spot on for the role. Also there is nothing better than dropping an explosive rocket right on the target

Insurgent Stinger – Alfa

If the GRU RPG was a pretty useful piece of kit, the stinger is going to level the playing field for the OPFOR. In Spectre Operations, MANPADs can prevent airborne off map assets which are often used by the more elite teams (as I know well from the Spectre weekend where a little bird managed to wreck an entire flank). This figure, in balacava, vest and utility trousers, may not have much else but totting the stinger around is a pretty useful task.

As well as being useful against airborne targets, this guy would also be useful as VIP/objective for missions where your SF team is hunting down potentially dangerous gear.

Insurgent Kill Team

The first release in the new Squad packaging is a new team perfect for augmenting your insurgent force. Sculpted moving more tactically than their insurgent buddies, they are armed with tactical AKs, wearing BDUs, plate carriers and comms gear. These guys can form a core of a force, able to mentor your less trained troops or focus on snatching enemy VIPs. In addition, they could also work as special forces from a middle eastern country, ready to work alongside your Western buddies or as Republican Guard infiltrators.

So why the new Squad packaging? In this case, it makes sense to get all the team members togethers giving you a powerful single unit in one go. I can see the format doing well in other situations such as for specific scenarios (VIP + bodyguards) or interesting packs that wouldn’t sell by themselves. Its strange to see Spectre go from packs of four down to two (or one) to suddenly bounce back with these big releases.

Painting Notes

Painting notes, the place where I explain all the painting decisions when it came to getting this article ready. Again, the usual rush to get stuff finished in time for a post. I’m getting better though; this time around the figures were painted Wednesday night mean they were less rushed than usual.

The latest Tier 1 Operator is painted the same way as the other Argo Contractors – block single colour for clothing, tan webbing and a dot of blue for the glasses. She ended up a little darker than her comrades, closer to the other female agents I’ve painted

The two task force operators are also painted similarly to existing figures in my collection.  As they were only wearing tshirts, the trousers had to multicam (using Spectre’s great painting guide) to match the rest of the force. Block colour Tshirts, US field drab for webbing and tan gun parts. The mad rush to

GRU was back to using my Surpat camo. I’m actually happier with this batch than I was with the original GRU figures as I used more green, which in turn made the other colours pop more. I’m tempted to redo the original group, especially as I’m about to paint up the CQB guys in the improved Surpat. Webbing was in Russian uniform.

The stinger wielding insurgent was super easy to do. Nice blocks of solid colour across the different clothing items and then the Agrax wash to dull the colours and make it fit my collections aesthetic (which has been described as having a “Post Gears of War 3rd Person shooter”filter applied)

As I’m using the Killteam to represent Bazi SF, I went for US 3 colour desert camo with painted guns and khaki boots. The 3 colour recipe came from Bolt Action CP on youtube and is super easy to do. They also match up pretty well with the Empress Universal figures I have so mixing in the odd operator to mentor the trained Bazi Army should work well.

Spectre Miniatures Unreleased Models: October 2017

As you may have seen based on the posts, I really like Spectre Miniatures. They make a great set of rules and make some of the coolest figures available to the modern gamer.

Another thing that particularly good about them is how often they post up some previews and show the world what is coming out, fresh from the workbench. Most of these previewed products are released soon after they are shown but amongst them there are a few figures hiding out, biding their time. In this post, we’re going to take a quick look at some of these. The main rule when choosing these early looks is to focus on the physical previews rather than the occasional renders – seeing things in the flesh is always better than a render and are more likely to be released due to the extra amount of work that has been put into them.

 

Bleeding edge operators WIP..#wargaming #spectreminiatures #spectreoperations #28mm #tabletopgaming

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Going back to October 2015, we have these three operators. They are wielding some pimped out rifles, complete with thermal optics and other attachments. Based on appearances they seem to be SIG MCXs, similar to those used by the Tier 1 operators. Looking at clothing, they are very similar to the Deniable Ops or Agents ranges, although the silenced pistols make me lean more towards the Agents, as the marksmen in that range are also equipped with them.

 

New African militia on the way #28mm #wargaming #sculpting #modernwargaming #spectreminiatures

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The African militia are among the oldest figures in the Spectre range, with all of them from the original Kickstarter. They are still fantastic models but you can really see the difference in detail and style between the Africans and the more recent releases. However, the Spectre Instagram showed off some WIP models of some new fighters ready to join the militia. This one is wielding an AK and a revolver, marking him out as someone of standing, ideal to be a squad or gang leader. The pose is also much more animated than the older style of model. I’m really excited to see the rest of this release when it finally comes, especially as I have yet to purchase any of this range.

 

Salute releases off to the casters.. #spectreminiatures #sculpting #modernwargame #tabletopgaming #28mm #wargames

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This requires a bit more of an eagle eye than the others. Before Salute 2016, this preview appeared showing off releases coming soon. Most have since come out (a mixture of criminals and vehicle crew) but there are two interesting figures – you can see both on the left side of the image. Both are armed with Steyr AUGs (one raised and one at rest) and wearing clothes similar to rest of the Criminal faction but we haven’t yet seen them on the store. This is a pretty cool gun to give to that group, especially if you’re wanting some slightly more professional criminals or just really like Die Hard. There is also two crew figures – one on the right side of image with a projectile and the other other crouching on the left.

 

More new toys with new toys on the way.. #spectreminiatures #spectreoperations #sculpting #tabletopgaming #wargaming

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A more recent preview, these three operators are pretty interesting and also show Spectre are about to go back and add more to some existing ranges.

The top figure looks like he is part of the Task Force Nomad collection, based on the combination of modern gear and traditional Middle Eastern clothing. His weapon, a bullpup Barrett, is also bang up to date and will add some nice long-range precision firepower to the squad.

Bottom left looks to be part of the Tier 1 Operators range (based on the baseball cap and fast mag pouches). The pose is cool but even cooler is his gear. In one hand is a breaching tomahawk, ready to help out your tactical actions or give you an edge in close combat. In his other hand is a SIX12 modular shotgun with an optic. The flat frontend shows it is set up in suppressed format. The level of detail is great as you can even see the three M-LOK holes on it. In related news, I think this is my new favourite breacher figure.

The final guy looks like a Task Force Operator. The weapon is an Ultimax LMG, designed to give MG firepower in a package that handles like an assault rifle. He also has a rucksack on his back.

 

New MWDs on the way… #spectreoperations #spectreminiatures #wargaming #tabletopgaming

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Much like with the African militia above, Spectre seems to also be revisiting our four-legged friends. Another figure from the original Kickstarter, the dogs were nicely detailed but also pretty static. This updated figure is much more dynamic, looking like he is moving alongside his master.

You can actually see part of his handler. Based on the fast mag holders and the pelvis plate, he is going to be some form of operator although I’m not 100% on which group – some of the detail looks very similar to a new collection that Spectre have been teasing in the past few days.

Speaking of which….

 

WHO… #spectreoperations #spectreminiatures #wargaming #sculpting #L119A2

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DARES #spectreoperations #spectreminiatures #wargaming #tabletopgaming

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WINS #spectreoperations #spectreminiatures #wargaming #tabletopgaming

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New SAS! From talking to the guys at Spectre, they are really excited about this release having really done the research on what gear is in use. They have all sorts of really cool equipment – some of it close to the Task Force Operators but there are plenty of UKSF specific items. I am particularly excited for the guys in SOTR breathing gear – perfect for CQB operations or (if you fancy a change) hunting zombies!

I am also interested in seeing how they will be released. Comments on the group seem to point to these guys being released in the new Squads packs (as seen with the insurgent killteam) with some specialist support characters sold in the normal blisters.

 

The armoury grows… #spectreminiatures #spectreoperations #tabletopgaming #wargaming #3dprinting

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As well as figures, the Instagram also includes this picture of 3D printed weapons we can investigate for hints. Spectre’s process is to use CAD tools to design the hard items (like helmets, fast mag pouches and guns), 3D print them and then add them to the greens before being cast as one part. The 3D sculpts are not sold separately so if they have been printed, good chance they are going on a figure.

So far, several of these weapons have been used:

  • The AT4 was part of the stowage kit. That kit also included some LAWs but these were packed up. The one in the picture is unfolded and ready for action, so presumably it will be used on a figure actually shooting it.
  • The Russian anti-material rifle is on the Militia sniper from the August releases.
  • The three RPGs at the bottom were also in the Militia releases from August.
  • The Stinger and Russian LAW (the weapon under the M79) were both used in the September releases for the Insurgents and GRU Spetsnaz.
  • The bullpup Barret has been shown in an unreleased preview (see above)

So what’s left over that hasn’t yet been used? The mix of weapons are unusual, from the high-tech ACR and Scorpion Evo down to the original Scorpion and the M79, making me think we’ll see these items appear across multiple ranges. However, two pairs of weapons are particular interesting. Two Tavors (one standard and one X95) and two Type 97s might show us the arrival of two new SF teams from Israel and China. Of course, these weapons might not be in the hands of state actors so we could see some more heavily armed insurgents, like the pair with F2000s. As someone who used to own one for airsoft, I’m also looking forward to seeing who will be wielding the blooper.

All of these have come from the Spectre Instagram but there was an even better place to see some greens – Salute 2015! My first trip to Salute some me come away with this picture. It’s interesting to see just how much in the image has since been released and also how many haven’t seen the light of day.

So, who came out and can be bought now?

  • Crouching MENA militia marksman
  • Task Force Operator breacher
  • Group of Task Force Operators at the back
  • Criminal with Mac 10 in the foreground
  • Insurgent leader shielding his eyes
  • MENA Militia RPG 29 gunner

Overall, a good number but there are still some guys left. Moving from left to right we have:

  • The moving low marksman armed with a scoped AK.
  • The Indigenous Forces figure, with PASGAT and AK. This is a range that is always exciting as it’s an area that for a long time was not filled with options. I really look forward to this group coming out and it would not surprise me if they are doing some updates to match the more recent changes in equipment.
  • The map using figure who I think was an insurgent. A nice alternative to the combat focused figures, he also makes sense to use as someone who has access to OTAs – checking the grid reference for a mortar strike perhaps?
  • The super early figure at the back – not sure what he would end up being but he was armed with an AK. Possibly a militia fighter?
  • The loader for the RPG 29 – I find it mad that the main gunner came out but his buddy didn’t. This guy would also be great for mounting up on technicals as a loader.

From talking to the guys at Spectre, it seems like they have releases and targets planned out for years to come. They also mentioned that anything shown on the Instagram is probably coming out in the future, they might just be delayed until a good group of figures are ready to be released together. As you can see from the list above, we’ll have plenty of goodies coming our way for years to come.

 

 

 

That said, there is one set of figures I’m still waiting for.

Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles – Building the SF Technicals

When the full details for the SF upgrades to the technicals were announced, I could see that assembling these vehicles ready to support my operators on the field was going to be a fun project. Thanks to sheer variety of stowage and other bits to upgrade them with, building my Non-Standard Tactical Vehicles needed some planning and careful part purchasing. Thanks also to my obsession with interoperability and hot swapping, I also had to work out the best way to mount all the various bits of equipment I wanted to use. This post is going to take a look at my final products packed full of pictures to show them off.

For impressions of the various parts, you can take a look at my multiple impressions pieces covering both the core sets and the new Special Forces upgrades.


Vehicles

With the possibility of two squads needing transport, I decided to pick up four technicals and set them up for SF use. Looking at the parts available, and after adding stowage, each has been assigned a role. As you may notice, the basic vehicles don’t carry cargo for details you can see later.

All vehicles mount the snorkel and bullbar upgrades as well as the upgraded tyres. Additionally, they all have a similar style of paint scheme – block colour undercoat with stripes of tan. The idea behind this was that these vehicles have been modified in theatre, with the main paint scheme having been fresh from the dealership and then hastily painted over to break up the colour. As for painting it, it’s simple and effective to paint.

SF01 – “King”

The first technical finished, and having already seen action in Bazistan, this vehicle is designed to be the command vehicle for the group. Using Technical Bravo as it’s base, SF-01 also mounts the Upgrade Bravo set with the rails and rear mounted fuel tank. As mentioned in the main impressions, this pack isn’t designed for this vehicle but it does seem to work quite well. The vehicle also mounts the Satcom aerial, a spare tyre and rucksack on the rear. To help protect the front, smoke dischargers are mounted in the bull bars.

SF02 – “Queen”

SF02 has another nickname – “Mule”. Using the Technical Alpha as the base, this vehicle is designed as the logistics hub for the group. For this reason, it mounts everything. The racks and fuel tank help to bulk it out but it also has multiple jerry cans, rucksacks and a spare wheel hanging off bits. On top of the cab, the storage rack is designed to be ready for the offensive. A LAW, an AT4 and a pelican gun case help to show off the idea that this is where all the heavy weapons are stored.

SF03 – “Jack”

“Jack” is designed to be a multi-role vehicle. It isn’t the most well equipped vehicle but it provides a good enough platform for whatever is needed. The only upgrade is the storage rack that has multiple different items ready for support. Two LAWs, a rucksack, ammo box, small pelican case and a ration box means this guy is ready for patrol.

SF04 – “Ace”

SF04 is the high-speed off-road part of the patrol. The only additional bit of kit onboard is the multiple smoke grenade launchers. This guy will go everywhere and then get back out of there at a rapid pace. The real reason for no stowage? I’m leaving the roof space free in case a roof rack becomes available. Also there might be more stowage packs filled with new goodies.

Cargo Basing

When buying the technicals, a big thing was to make sure they were modular as far as possible. The main reason for this is that it doesn’t limit me to a specific combination of vehicle + weapon system and so that all the vehicles can be use for scenery without having to explain why the gun crew are not on the map.

Previously, when building the technicals for the militia, I had used several long pieces and various combinations of t-shapes made out of plasticard. However, this lead to some dodgy cutting and a few places where the guns were out of balance and liable to tipping over. This time, I standardised on the I shape throughout. Full size weapon use the entire I, half-size use 3/4s of the I with the remainder having stowage added to it. Mounting the rear weapons on both types of vehicles rely on a few rough cuts to tweak them to fit. This will need to be done by eye as I don’t have exact measurements for it.

A few people asked about a template for this. The reason I haven’t got one is that this, like many things I do, is done by the seat of my pants. Each of the shapes ended up being slightly different . The dimensions are approximately 3.1cm x 4.4cm. To make the I shape, I cut in 0.8cm slots at 1.1cm and 2.9cm. However I recommend you use these as guidelines rather than gospel. Measure carefully and prepare to trim.

The thicker plasticard works wonders but there is one more improvement I’d make. If I had a dremel, I would cut out a slot for rare earth magnets and utilise them for more support. I’d also measure properly,

Guns

The key part of the NSVs and their tabletop use is going to be their heavy weapons. Wanting the greatest selection, I picked up one of each and got to work. As I say in the last impressions piece, I was a little disappointed to see only one crew figure but paint jobs helped to fix that. I also think I maybe shouldn’t have mounted all the weapon on the taller mounts – it looks good when trying to get over the rack but it did lead to some odd positions on the Auto-Grenade Launcher and a really tall stand for the minigun. However, they do look really cool. In addition, the gun mounts also had a few stowage items to make them look used.

Heavy Machine Gun

The classic M2 is back. Having proven it’s worth in its first outing in Bazistan, I’m really happy with this setup. One thing of note, the gunner was painted at speed and so he ended up wearing a version of my ACU camo.

Dual GPMGs

The most “more dakka” of the guns, I really enjoyed assembling this guy. I look forward to him speeding around the board hammering away.

Auto Grenade Launcher

So this was the most troublesome to assembled. Due to the large height of the gun assembly and it’s two-part nature, I ended up with some support issue. To solve this, I had to glue the gunners face to the sight. It just about works but if I was to make it again I’d use the lower height stand and tilt the AGL more.

Minigun

For the minigun, I decided to do something different. I decided to do some tweaks so I could use this setup for a gun truck alongside my Tier 1 Operator models. This required some Green stuff work on the gunner – trimming his helmet off, reforming the shape, adding a head strap for the headphones and then adding a bill on it. I ended up building the shape with a cutout in it to allow me to add the bill. Unfortunately, I only noticed the presence of my finger print on a bit of the putty once I started painting it.

As for the weapon itself, I would again swap out the tall mount for the lower one. It looks great on the technicals with the side panels on but it’s a bit spindly for all other vehicles. However, I am happy with my beginners attempt at conversion.

As you can see, it looks pretty good amongst the contractors. Hopefully it will give them a bit of a firepower boost when up against hordes of militia.

 

Now, that was all the guns that are available from the store. However, I had a few other pieces lying around which meant I could setup another weapon ready for use. I present, the GPMG.

GPMG

By pulling the spare mount from a (now Humvee mounted) minigun and a spare M240 from the razor kit, I was able to get a lighter weapon together. The only major issue was the crewman. Looking through the Task Force Operators range, I eventually found the cheapest option – the single figure using the pirate gun. Combining these two together set up a great tactical combination and a unique weapon for my operators.

Cargo

In addition to the guns, the vehicles need a little extra stowage. This cargo is also great for mounting as an objective. The idea was also to make some that didn’t scream “SF OPERATORS HERE” so they can be used by the insurgents as well.

Full Size

There are two full size cargos. These only fit into Technical Alpha.

  1. A fuel setup with multiple barrels, two storage boxes and a row of jerry cans.
  2. A comprehensive cargo load with a bit of everything. Cargo boxes, ammo cases, cooler box, rugged laptop, rucksack and as a just in case, a M72.

Half Size

There are six half-size cargos. These fit into both vehicles, filling the bay on Bravo and adding more detail to Alpha. These are perfect for mounting alongside a weapon system in Alpha, helping to fill in the empty gap

  1. Generic ammo box and fuel tank.
  2. The car pack is designed to be relatively civilian, with a fuel can, spare wheel and two sand boards.
  3. Generic 2 – Spare wheel, storage boxes, ammo box, pelican box and a rugged laptop resting vertically.
  4. Generic 3 – designed for sitting at the front of Alpha, this one has an ammo box resting on top of where the wheel arch would be. In addition there is a good selection of kit such as a spare wheel, M72, rucksack and jerry can.
  5. Rocket pack – large container (probably full of rockets), ammo box (probably full of warheads) and an AT4 ready to rock
  6. Comms pack – large container, rucksack and three items to form a communication setup (aerial, small pelican case and a laptop)

Final Thoughts

The NSVs help to bring some new to the SF side. A bit more powerful than the Razors yet still ready to race around at full speed to deploy at the right location, the technicals are also a great way to personalise your force. I really recommend doing a little planning before buying in, picking out the right packs of stowage and guns.

The next step? Getting all of these vehicles into a game.

Impressions: Spectre SF Technicals – Initial Thoughts

Earlier this year, I wrote a load of stuff covering Spectre’s first vehicle release for the technical. In it, I commented about miniguns which was a stretch goal from the Kickstarter that was sadly missed, as well as the illusive “Tactical Technical”. Well, it looks like it was merely being sneaky and it is now out as part of this latest release. And oh boy, is there a lot of cool stuff on this release.

Sadly, due to my desire to get the vehicles in a state where I can hot swap the various weapon systems and cargo, I don’t yet have them painted. However I can cover the initial impressions on every part of this release, detailing any issues I may have found during the initial build process and looking at what I like and don’t like. You’ll just have to wait to see the final product.

The Trucks

The vehicles that form the base for the SF Technicals range are the exact same ones released earlier in the year. Alpha provides a larger truck bed while Bravo is a more modern style but has a smaller cargo capacity. When building the kits for the SF vehicles, I assembled the two part chassis and then added the rack behind each cab. The remaining parts were left off to make assembling the upgrades much easier.

A few things have changed with the vehicles since the original release, presumably to ease production and save on material. Technical Bravo is comprised of much less material, with the cab now mostly empty space. The other thing I noticed was that some of the resin was slightly misaligned. This was quickly solved by a quick bath in hot water and some gentle bending.

The Upgrade Packs

The first part to look at when building your new technicals are the upgrade packs. These additions build off the pieces in the main kits and help to make them look more suited for off-road activities or military action.

Alpha

Alpha is perhaps the simplest of the upgrade packs. It’s a pack of wheels, sporting improved tyres. These are a good way of showing off upgrades (such as run flats) or extending the stowage in a vehicle by covering it in spares. These wheels replace the ones from the vehicle packs and come with enough to fully outfit one vehicle and have two left over to mount as stowage or for a gunner to stand on. They are a little bigger than the default wheels so the finished vehicle will be slightly taller than normal.

Bravo

Bravo is designed to make your vehicles really standout from the civilian pickups while also letting you really load it up with stowage. The pack is actually two sets of upgrades in one. The first is a long-range fuel tank. This is assembled around the rear door to the cargo bed. After placing the tank, a cage comprising of three parts is placed around it. The main thing when building it is to make sure the curved edges of the two side pieces clip onto the round sections of the back of the cage (it will make more sense when you are building them). Then simply glue the construction on the back of the cargo bed. If you don’t want the giant tank of flammable liquid behind your operators, the cage could be assembled to hold other stowage such as jerry cans or hard containers.

The other part of the upgrade are the racks that mount on the side of the cargo bed. These create the mounting points for all sorts of gear, from spare tires to sand guards. As well as hosting these bits of gear, the rails could also be used to support plasticard armoured panels if you feel the need to up the protection on your vehicle. I’d recommend putting the vertical part of the mounting area on the inside of the cargo bed (as you can see below) as it looks a little better

The rails mount on both types of chassis but are really designed for the Alpha technical. However, it does also work on the Bravo vehicle as you can see below. In this case, the side rails ended up connecting to the top of the cage around the fuel tank. This style does look similar to some troop carrying pickups you might see in places such as Mexico.

Charlie & Delta

These two packs perform the same role – adding bullbars and a snorkel to both types of the base chassis. These upgrades really add to the off-road style on the vehicles, turning them from a street truck to something you would expect to see bounding through the desert.

Charlie is for the Alpha technical. The pack includes a new bumper that features the bullbars, a snorkel and a roof top storage rack. The bumper fits on really well and I think looks awesome. The snorkel has a notch in the side to help with alignment when placing it, something that is appreciated during construction. However, my favourite feature is the roof rack. It has a slight ramp on the mounting block so it sits flat on the sloped roof and it looks rad. Combined with the stowage pack, you can fill it with all sorts of hard cases, anti-tank weapons and gear (all the goodies a team of operators might need) while leaving most of the cargo bed free for weapon mountings.

Delta is for the Bravo vehicle and contains a replacement lower front and the snorkel. It would have been cool if it came with a roof mounted storage rack to match the other pack of this type but it’s not a deal breaker. Again, the snorkel has a nice notch to help with placement and the resin front end only needed very minor cleanup.

Weapons

Of course, a major part of the latest release is giving you some SF suitable weapons for your new rides to roll around with. You could choose to mount the standard weapons (perhaps if your team is less well equipped) but honestly, there is a minigun option literally right there.

Crew

I hate taking photos of unpainted figures. An ink wash helps!

In every release from any wargames manufacturer there is a slight disappointment and I think this time, the crew selection is the slight let down. When the first technicals came out there was a nice selection of generic crew standing next to the various weapons. For the HMG alone there were two options seemingly designed for it (one shooting and one leaning on the weapon spotting). For the SF release there is only one option – Crew Hotel, an operator in combat gear in the aiming pose. It’s a good basic option but having a second choice (perhaps a character pointing out a potential target or gesturing at some civilian trying to overtake) would be a useful. Even a simple head swap would have been nice. At the same time though, this is probably the most commonly used pose so in the end for many people it won’t matter.

One thing to note is that you will need to carefully bend the arms to line them up to the trigger locations. It requires just a little more force than you would think it would need but the metal Spectre uses is very good at being slightly manhandled.

Common Elements

The new guns listed below share a common feature – the mount. Unlike the pole on the original M2, the new guns use a much more sturdy looking mount. It comes in two heights; the tall one clears the top of cab and allows for a forward fire arc while the other is better for rear or side firing guns. The top of each pole is split in half and matches up to the bottom of each of the weapon assemblies. This requires some patient holding while waiting the glue to dry but seems to work quite well.

No matter what height you choose, both mounts will require that a rear gunner stands on something in order to reach the spade grips. Having seen one of the Spectre models at Cardiff, it seems that a spare tyre is a good option.

M2 .50cal SF

Yep, you can’t release a technical without a 50cal. This one however is rather special. Wrapping the barrel is rail system onto which two attachments have been mounted. On top of the gun is an Eotech style holographic sight (or red dot in Spectre Operations) while underneath is the giant Hellfire torch capable of illuminating targets much further than other light systems. Combined together, these provide a useful setup to pair with the HMG’s lethality and range on the tabletop, letting you engage targets accurately no matter what time of day it is.

Without a doubt this was the simplest weapon to assemble out of the group. The gun is one piece so all it required was gluing it to the mount and it was good to go.

Mk47 AGL

The only thing better than a 40mm grenade launcher is an automatic one complete with rangefinder. An upgrade over the old MK19, the MK47 AGL is the hottest new thing in automatic grenade launchers. With basic stats its great for suppressing large groups of unarmored enemies but the addition of an aiming system (run as either a scope, red dot, thermal sight or some combination of them) really helps to make it a precision area weapon. If you are feeling especially high-tech, the MK47 is capable of programming MK285 rounds to airburst over a target. So if you want to make an opponent cry, mention you want to use those rounds and start dropping grenades every turn that ignore cover saves thanks to the airburst rules.

The gun is made up of three parts – the barrel and main sight piece, the side mounted sight (including rails for other sights) and the stand/ammo box assembly. Glueing these three together required a few tweaks to get them lined up. By default, the launcher is slightly tilted upwards ready to lob rounds at the enemy downrange.

Dual M240

Why have only one medium machine gun when you can bolt two together, stick a sight on one and then add a chute for spent shell casings? Like the SAS jeeps from WW2, the simplest way to increase firepower on a mount is just to double what you have. The MMG is a good gun to begin with thanks to Sustained Fire and a 3+ lethality but turning it into a dual weapon means double the shots. Add to that a scope/red dot and you’ve got a great weapon for engaging infantry.

Building the gun was the most fiddly of them all, consisting of five parts. The two ammo boxes clip on the outer edges while the guns themselves fit into the slots in the lower mount. This mount then attaches to the tower using the usual method. As always, do a dry fitting run before getting the super glue out.

Now if only there was another way to get a ton of shots on targets…

M134 Minigun

Okay I’ll admit, this is something I’ve wanted since the kickstarter. Miniguns in all their forms are super cool and having one on the wargames table is just too tempting. Assembly is relatively simple despite the multiple parts. The gun sits in an arm that attaches to the column. As well as this, there is an optional red dot to mount on the rail on the top of the gun itself and two parts to form the ammo supply. The belt is the usual strip of metal that can be freely trimmed and twisted to line up with the large ammo box.

As an aside, one of my favourite things about the separate weapons that Spectre produces is the fact I can use them elsewhere. I have two Empress Humvee where I have replaced the gun mount with a magnet. Combined with Spectre’s stock of guns, this means I can swap out the standard M2 HMG for a DsHK (for when the Bazistan Army gets to use them) or, as you can see, for a Minigun. This versatility means you don’t have to buy 101 different vehicles for all the combination of weapons you might want, instead only needing as you might want to be on the tabletop. One thing with the Minigun, I had to trim some areas so it would fit properly on the magnet and trying to fit the ammo box in the turret is going to be hard.

In game, the minigun is a nightmare to go up against, no matter what the ruleset. Spectre Operations gives it 6 shots a turn that let you roll through a squad and easily put on the suppression. 3+ lethality and a decent range interval finish off a good package, espeically if you add a red dot.

Stowage

This release didn’t include any new stowage options (other than the new tires). However, last month we got Stowage Alfa which is packed full of stuff to cover your vehicle in. You could use the Razor stowage packs but they are not really designed for this style of vehicle.

If you want more details on Stowage Alfa, you can find my impressions here.

Final Thoughts

I ended my post on the initial Spectre Technical release by saying “The Spectre technicals are a great start to a new range. Apart from the minor issues, all the models are beautiful to behold and will be fantastic additions to anyone’s collection.”. It’s safe to say, the same idea carries on here.

With the second major release there are now a collection of parts that let you take that initial release and direct it to be more suitable for a different use. Although designed for Special Forces teams, the upgrades mean the vehicles can now be used for other groups (such as well-trained OPFOR, contractors or cartel members wanting a cool off-road vehicle) by simply varying many upgrades and how much stowage you add. There are a few tweaks I would make (more crew options, stowage racks for Technical Bravo) but these can be easily be added in future releases. For now though, all the new bits open up a world of exciting possibilities. I can’t wait to see the sheer variety of vehicles people come up with.


So now I’ve done the initial thoughts, it’s time for me to do the fun stuff and start finishing them. There will be a whole post on the process of getting the group of vehicles finished in the next few weeks. The main delay is setting up the series of plasticard bases that will let me swap guns and cargo sections between vehicle while hopefully looking better than the first version used for the militia. In addition, the militia equipment is being rebased and repainted after they got banged up during the trip to Cardiff. So keep your eye on the blog for more stuff on Spectre Miniatures releases and all things dedicated to ultramodern wargaming.

Impressions: Spectre July 2017 Release

The end of July saw a new release to expand Spectre’s MENA Militia range. These new figures are designed to give your militia a bit of an edge, either by adding some tougher guys or bringing some new gear to the party. If you’re building a militia force, these fighters are a must buy.

Militia with Assault Rifles

Ready to add to the bulk of your force, these guys look hard as nails. The new packs (MENA Militia Echo and MENA Militia Foxtrot) both contain figures armed just with a standard assault rifle. However, they have a very different look to them making them perfect for use as squad leaders or better trained fighters, characters that need to stand out slightly in the middle of a battle. In particular, I think the guy with the baseball cap would work really well as a local contact or fixer for your CIA agent in the field thanks to the combination of traditional and western clothing. I also really like how they are wielding folding stock AKs rather than the standard version, ideal for urban guerrillas engaged in CQB.

Militia with RPG

One of the great things with the RPG-7 is the variety of warheads available. Up until this release, the only options with models were either the standard HEAT round or the tiny AP warhead. The two new miltia RPG packs (MENA RPG Bravo and MENA RPG Charlie) help to expand the munitions available to wargamers. Three of the four warheads are variations on HEAT rounds, however all of them are much more modern or unusual (some of them look like the Iranian NAFEZ and Slovakian PG-7M). The fourth figure carries a thermobaric round, superb at destroying bunkers and buildings.

Out of the four figures, one of them looks very similar to the rest of the MENA militia range, clad in his t-shirt, but he holds his RPG and ammo in a very different pose. . The others look much more unique, providing some improved weapons for when you need to knock out the enemy vehicles or clear a fortified position. Spectre doesn’t currently have any new rules for improved or more modern HEAT rounds but expect cool things in an upcoming supplement.

Militia Sniper with Anti-Material Rifle

I have a pet peeve with the model industry when it comes to prone figures. With most games I play focusing on real line of sight, having a figure being much lower than any other can be real paint. Additionally, a prone figure can a pain to base. They can’t do much about the figure being hard to spot, but Spectre have done something clever with the posing on this prone sniper (MENA Militia Sniper Alfa). By having him lying on his side, the sniper fits more easily on a round base, a look that is closer to the various other weapon teams. To help fill in the base, I ended up adding some MDF offcuts to form some rubble.

In terms of armament, the Militia Sniper is using a Russian Anti-Material rifle. This is another weapon which should help even the odds when going up against lightly armoured vehicles or troops in cover. In Spectre Operations, the Anti Material Rifle has several useful special rules such as Armour Piercing, Frag and Incendiary that make it a real terror. Alternatively, you could choose to downgrade it to a Heavy Sniper rifle which is still a massive threat to anyone who crosses the shooter’s line of sight.

Painting Notes

As with the rest of my Militia guys, the painting plan is to use a mixture of earthy colours with an occasional bit of camo or colour. I ended up just using the earthy colour. There is a lot of black on these figures so my tactic of Black then a drybrush of Basalt Grey was in full effect. The big change was a new colour for the wooden sections on the AKs and RPGs. Rather than using GW’s Rhinox Hide, I tried Valejo’s Cavalry Brown. After my initial panic, the final effect works very well.

 

One thing I did notice was one of the models had a bit of flash that needed cleaning up. It’s unusual to see on Spectre models but with the pattern on the jacket it’s easy to see how it happened. A quick file and the pattern is gone.

Spectre Operations Weekend 2017 AAR

I’ll admit, when they announced that Spectre were running a gaming weekend in Cardiff I had tons of questions. What was it going to be like? What figures did I need to bring? Were the other Spectre players going to turn out to be tournament mad points fans? Would I find somewhere sensible to stay? Is driving to the other end of the country really worth it to play a wargame? Having got back from it and had some to think and decompress, I think it was one of the best wargaming experiences I’ve ever had.

The weekend began on Friday with me driving 9 hours from Edinburgh to get to Cardiff (mostly in the rain) and then checking into the nicest Youth Hostel I’ve ever seen. The rest of the evening was full of drinks, curry and some good chat with everyone before we eventually managed to grab some shut-eye.

Saturday started with all of us heading to the venue for the event. Now, when it was announced we were going to Cardiff to play Spectre, I think a lot of people (except those in Bristol and other places close by) found it pretty inconvenient due to the fact it wasn’t a more central location like London or Birmingham. However, after seeing Firestorm I can easily see why I’d found myself in Wales. It’s a fantastic place, with a huge space for boards, a nice casual area for card games or grabbing lunch, a bar serving both food and beer and a massive shop packed full of stuff (I had to prevent myself from being tempted into picking all sort of goodies from the well stocked shelves). Most importantly for anyone who likes taking photos of wargames or has ever served their time at the King and Queen in Brighton, it is very well-lit!

The gallery above is of all the board layouts that were in place at the start of Day 1. The terrain was from a mixture of sources – several tables were filled with stuff from Darren’s rather excellent collection while a few near the front had items brought by the Spectre team themselves. This included some new terrain items in the shape of some resin pallets and brick walls. I am a huge fan of those walls and will be on them like a shot when they come out.

The rest of the boards showed off the terrain available at Firestorm. As you can see in the picture above, the entire back wall is full with shelves for terrain for everything from fantasy to modern batman-esque games to the far future.

Of course, the main reason for being there was not to marvel at the venue but to get some games in! There were a selection being run, from a two day multi-game boot camp for two players (Mike and Si) who had never tried the game before to a four player game that a whole family were taking part in. Due to the number of people who were there and the varying experience levels, I ended up being matched against Craig “Tiny Terrain” for most of my games. He was a great opponent in all the games we played and I’m looking forward to the next time we get to play against each other.

Before I cover the fighting, I should mention a little bit about how the games were organised. The Spectre team had brought down almost all of their painted models in perhaps the biggest figure case I had ever seen. People wishing to run games had free rein to select figures from this box (or bring out whatever they had brought down themselves) and set up the scenarios how they wished. It was great to have the rules writers to hand while playing, answering all those minor questions and suggesting little tweaks to play around with. Thanks to JT, Matt, Ivan and Stephen for answering all the random queries throughout the weekend.

Anyway, enough introductions, time to get into the meat of the event – the battle reports! The italicised introductions are just some scene setting on my part but the rest of the action was entirely down to the dice and our choices as players. Just so this post isn’t a ridiculous long one, I’ve split most of the battle reports off into separate posts linked below. Each one starts and ends with a link back to hear to make reading easier.


Game 1 – La Chute du faucon noir

Bazistan: During operations, a US Army UH-60 Blackhawk has been shot down in the old town of Bazi City. Observers have spotted two casualties attempting to extracte themselves from the wreckage. Needing to secure the site, Coalition command has deployed a French SF team to the Old Town to capture and defend the area from the Militia. However, this is the Militia’s home turf and they know that the enemy are coming. Will the French be able to hold the crash site long enough to treat the wounded?

Click here to find out!


Game 2 – Teaching

Val Verde: A team of deniable operatives working for a Cartel is closing in on a facility owned by their rival. Their aim? To take out El Jefe while he is out in the open. Two problems: El Jefe has surrounded himself with some Bad Hombres and worse, the team don’t know exactly what the target looks like. Will El Jefe be able to escape?

Click here to find out!


As Game 2 ended, the staff from Firestorm were coming along to gently shepard the gamers out the door. After packing up my gear and taking it back to the hostel, the plan was to then head into town for a quiet drink. However, a pretty intense day of wargaming had drained us of any desire to go anywhere, so we grabbed a few beers, ordered pizza in the hotel lobby, had a casual chat and then went off for an early night, drifting to sleep to the sound of 101 hen/stag parties heading out into Cardiff.

As Day 2 started (after a minor delay), the Spectre team also got to pull out some previews of what is coming next. As well as mentioning the releases that came out on Monday (more veteran militia) and showing off the fully painted SF Technical with a mounted minigun that had previously been spotted speeding round the board during Operation Razor Strike (and is due out THE WEEKEND THIS POST APPEARS possibly), some greens (the final sculpted product ready to be sent off for casting) were also shown. I’m pretty excited for these; they included two female Task Force Operators, equipped with all the latest gear, and a small group of more tactical looking OPFOR with better equipment than usual (such as soft caps, chest rigs & tactical AKs). Fans of certain middling history channel tv shows may spot some of the inspiration behind them. It’s always fascinating to see what’s coming next, especially before it’s cast in metal and still fresh from the sculptor’s touch. We also got to hear about some things that are planned for the future. I’ll be keeping quiet on them for now but it’s obvious we’ll be seeing cool things from the team at Spectre for quite a while.

Of course, the real reason we were there was to get some more games in and so the battle reports carry on!


Game 3 – Bad Day in Bazistan

Jazan, Bazistan: an Emir in charge of one of the Bazi Militia is heading home after a meeting. The convoy is powerful force, thanks in part to the backing of the Argo Corporation. What the Emir doesn’t know is that the Russian GRU have issued a capture order on him and he is about to roll into a trap. Will the GRU be able to capture their prey?

Click here to find out!


Game 4 – Deck by Deck

Off the coast of Val Verde, two cartel lieutenants are meeting about this month’s pay with the gold bars sitting on the meeting room table. The two groups are enjoying the delights of a pleasure yacht. Unfortunately, their partying and lax attitudes to sentry duty has allowed a small team of operators to sneak on board. Splitting into two groups, they set off to do perform a HVT extract on the high seas. Will they be able to grab the targets?

Click here to find out!


After putting the dice down on the last game, it was almost time for the event to finish. Several people had already headed off (a minor downside of running an event on a Sunday) leaving only one table still active – a real clash of companies as Spectre and Warmill fought over a battlefield filled with some rather nice looking mansions that Warmill are working on. The Cartel put up a hard fight but it looked like the Operators were seconds away from snatching the target. As the day finished, we packed up what was left, said our goodbyes and then headed back to our various homes. Luckily my journey was split with a quick trip home (and a chance to check on my WIP demo boards) and so I didn’t have to do the full 9 hours on Sunday.

Final Thoughts

Having now had a chance to sit back and think about the weekend, its safe to say that I had an exceptionally good time, creating a very nice end to my summer break. The chance to head out and get some really solid games in against opponents other than my regular ones was great.

I think one of my main thoughts from the entire weekend is this – there is no better way to really see a set of wargame rules then to play it solidly for two days. I have had some little misgivings about Spectre Operations for a while, little things that were hard to quantify but meant it didn’t flow as well as it should have done. Having taken part in four quite varied games over the weekend it’s safe the say the misgivings are gone; they were probably caused by still being a little unfamiliar with bits of the rules that frequent play would have removed. Spectre Operations is something pretty special; lightweight enough to get anyone into it but still with a level of detail and realism that makes it not just feel like a reskin of Warhammer but more like something closer to the modern battlefield. The guys behind it know it has a few places that need tweaking (I’ll stop banging on about the vehicle rules at some point) and are also looking for ways to expand it, to polish off the rougher edges and make it better and better.

It’s also still incredible how wargaming brings so many types of people together while still keeping them civil. Throughout the weekend, I don’t think I ever heard anyone getting annoyed at each other. Any rules disagreements were swiftly settled by either a GM or the roll of a dice. As befitting the rules, no one appeared to be a try-hard, too focused on winning at all costs rather than enjoying and playing the scenario. There were plenty of people over the weekend who had never played Spectre before and I think all of them left with a smile on their face and chatting about the events of their games. Overall, it was just a really pleasant time.

To wrap up, this weekend was fantastic. Good gameplay, some fun times hanging out with friends and a chance to get all the toys from Spectre off the shelf. Yes, Cardiff was a long way but if you told me they were doing it again next year I’d be getting my booking in faster than a team of Elites would rampage through a small force of Militia.

Maybe I should talk to a friend about setting up something Spectre Operations in the north…

Spectre Weekend 2017 – Game 4

Hey, this is one of the battle reports from the Cardiff Spectre Operations Event. If you haven’t read the main post yet, you can find it here. If you just want the action, keep reading!


Game 4 – Boarding Action

Off the coast of Val Verde, two cartel lieutenants are meeting about this month’s pay with the gold bars sitting on the meeting room table. The two groups are enjoying the delights of a pleasure yacht. Unfortunately, their partying and lax attitudes to sentry duty has allowed a small team of operators to sneak on board. Splitting into two groups, they set off to do perform a HVT extract on the high seas. Will they be able to grab the targets?

The sides were as follows:

Operators:

All operators have body armour, pistols, personal med kits, frag and stun grenades.

  • Team 1:
    • Elite with Carbine (Red Dot and Laser)
    • Elite with Battle Rifle (Red Dot and Laser)
    • Elite with SMG (Red Dot and Laser) “Pointman”
    • Elite with Carbine, Automatic Shotgun, breaching charge and breaching tools
  • Team 2:
    • Elite Team Leader with Carbine (Red Dot and Laser)
    • Elite with Carbine (Red Dot and Laser)
    • Elite with SMG (Red Dot and Laser) “Pointman”
    • Elite with Carbine, Combat Shotgun, breaching charge and breaching tools

Cartel:

  • Sicario Faction:
    • 1 Civilian VIP
    • 1 Trained Squad Leader with Assault Rifle
    • 4 Trained with Assault Rifle
    • 1 Trained with LMG
  • Gangers Faction:
    • 1 Civilian VIP
    • 1 Militia Squad Leader with Assault Rifle
    • 7 Militia equipped with a mix of SMGs, machine pistols and assault rifles.

Additionally, there are several civilians on the boat. These are working for the cartel but not the main combat troops. If a 6 is rolled on the civilian reaction table something different from the rulebook happens. Rather than attacking the nearest figure, they are simply converted into another fighter for the cartel player; there is also a roll off to see if they are armed with a pistol or a machine pistol. These figures are still civilians and so are not particularly skilled. That said, they could be a nasty surprise if left unsecured.

The operators start on the bottom deck. The two factions of cartel start separately, with the VIPs on the Bridge and Captain’s Quarters deck. Above them on the roof deck, the cartel are enjoying the sun and partying away. Below the meeting, the team of sicarios are patrolling through the ship (aka doing their job).

The original plan for the operators was to sneak around as much as possible. However, two turns in the sicarios had just glimpsed Team 1 sneaking past the pool. They were able to put some fire down on the Pointman (lightly wounding him but mostly saved by his body armour) which alerted the rest of the boat. In response, the breacher in Team 1 swept his AA12 around and filled the lead target full of buckshot. Despite being injured, the SMG equipped point man was also able to put a burst into the last sicario visible and drop him. Team 1 then consolidated to protect the flanks while starting to clear the interior.

On the deck below, Team 2 were stacking up to breach the wall of the engine room so they could push through the rest of the deck. However, this activated one of the civilians. It seems like the Cartel VIP’s flunkey had finished being sea-sick and was now ready to investigate the strange noises going on in the ship.

On the top deck, the gangers stopped the party and started to form up and head downstairs to secure their boss. Several of these civilians started panicking before almost all were converted into pistol wielding goons.

Back on the middle deck Team 1 was tactically clearing the rooms, beginning with the dining area. The Sicarios opened up with a LMG, putting some suppression down and a lot of bullets through the furniture. Seconds later, the rest of the operators were able to incapacitate the gunner before he caused too much damage. This fire also put a ton of suppression points on the now injured bad guy.

The bottom deck saw Team 2 attempt a breach. The charge was placed but rather than create an entry hole, it simply caused some damage to the wall. The breacher would have to manually expand the gap. On the other side, Fatty heard the loud noise and moved to investigate.

As Team 1 moved forward to clear the deck, they flung a frag grenade to clear one of the corridors. This grenade wiped out two more of the trained Sicarios and finished off the gunner, moving all of the suppression onto the final enemy waiting in one of the side rooms to ambush the operators.

Team 2 finally busted through the wall and found themselves facing Fatty down the corridor. Rather than just shooting him, I decided I was going to try to secure as many civilians as possible (I blame long sessions of SWAT 4). A rush into combat, a few rolls, and the Pointman was slapping on the plasti-cuffs.

Team 1 continued to sweep through the deck to prevent anyone trying to flank them. As mentioned before, this poor sicario in the middle of the picture is drowning in suppression points, making him easy prey to the operators.

There were a few turns between the last picture and this one. I spent my time moving through the ship, cuffing civilians and cartel fighters such as the suppressed sicario to prevent any nasty surprises. The gangers spent that time fortifying the deck, setting up overwatch on the staircases and using the converted civilians as alarms against the operators sneaking up. It was going to be a pig to clear out.

The picture actually shows the start of the final assault. After using the leg up move to get Team 2 onto the correct deck and positioning most of Team 1 at the bottom of the stairs, my last operator stood in the pool and flung a stun grenade into the meeting room to hit as many people as possible. It was a hard throw but he managed to hit it dead on. Team 1 then started up the staircases. The stun grenades had reduced the effectiveness of the overwatch but it still put some suppression down on my assaulters. From the other end, Team 2 traded shots through the glass on the bridge. They easily took out the armed civilians before advancing inside to trap the gangers in a pincer move.

The final turn saw the operators continue moving forward. What was interesting was that the cartel had taken the initiative at this point as they were the only ones shooting (my operators were too busy rushing into close combat to prevent them being shot at). This led to the operators taking casualties, with both breachers finishing the game with 5 turns of the bleedout. That said, as the Team 2 breacher took his hit, his sidearm shot took out the militia squad leader and killed him. As the clock ran out, it was safe to say the operators were in charge of the boat.

Once the mission was over, both myself and Craig sat back and breathed out for the first time in a while. That final assault was on a knife-edge – a few fluffed rolls or the enemy armed with some more destructive weapons (like a combat shotgun) and it would have been a very different. Many of the advantages of the operators are tempered due to the close quarters, you can’t clear your way through with explosives. Fighting across 2D ship plans was something really different from usual and I would love to see someone make an actual MDF ship with all the interior rooms.

Big thanks to Harry from Warmill for letting us play across his excellent shipping plans. It was a really unique battle and a great end to the weekend.


Finished reading? For the rest of the battle reports and more on the event itself, the main post is here!

Spectre Weekend 2017 – Game 3

Hey, this is one of the battle reports from the Cardiff Spectre Operations Event. If you haven’t read the main post yet, you can find it here. If you just want the action, keep reading!


Game 3 – Bad Day in Bazistan

Jazan, Bazistan: an Emir in charge of one of the Bazi Militia is heading home after a meeting. The convoy is powerful force, thanks in part to the backing of the Argo Corporation. What the Emir doesn’t know is that the Russian GRU have issued a capture order on him and he is about to roll into a trap. Will the GRU be able to capture their prey?

The sides were as follows:

Russian Attackers:

All the Russians have body armour, frag and stun grenades, pistols

  • Elite Squad Leader with Machine Pistol (with armour-piercing ammo) and Full length shield.
  • 2x Elites with machine pistols (with armour-piercing ammo) and half-size shields
  • 3x Elites with assault rifles (equipped with red dots)
  • Elite with Grenade Launcher
  • Elite with Light Sniper Rifle

The Russians also have an Anti-Vehicle IED which could have been place anywhere on the road. This was marked onto a sketch map.

Emir’s Bodyguards:

  • Vehicle 1: Technical with HMG
    • Crewed by 4 trained and 1 trained squad leader all with Assault Rifles
  • Main Vehicle: Armoured SUV
    • VIP sat in the back
    • Crewed by 3 professional armed with carbines (equipped with Red dots) and 1 professional Squad Leader with SMG (equipped with Red Dot)
  • Vehicle 2: Technical 2 with HMG
    • Crewed by 3 trained all with assault rifles

As the game begun, all the Russians were hiding around the board (Craig had marked the positions using a sketch map). Unaware of the approaching attack, the bodyguards and their allies mounted up in their vehicles and drove away at half speed to begin their route.

Two turns passed and nothing happened (apart from a civilian wandering into the road). Moving round the corner, the lead vehicle was about to accelerate when there was an almighty bang. The Anti-Vehicle IED had been detonated, throwing the vehicle off the road and stunning those inside. The driver however was close to the blast and took the worst of it, a serious wound that knocked him out and caused him to start bleed out.

Following protocol, the rest of the convoy accelerated aiming to clear the killzone. However, the were quickly interrupted with more gun fire. The rear vehicle’s gunner was snatched from his mount by a shot that seemed to come from out of nowhere.

On top of the tower, the Russian with the pump-action grenade launcher pulled away his cover and began to aim his launcher. Meanwhile, on the factory in front of the convoy, three assault rifle wielding figures deployed and started pouring fire down on the militia.

In the following turn, the Russians continued firing, putting multiple bursts into the second technical. This caused enough damage to the engine to halt it. The VIP’s vehicle was now the only one moving, thanks mostly to its armoured nature.

Photo borrowed from TinyTerrain

The crew of both the technicals began to disembark, primarily looking for cover against the attackers. At the back, the second vehicle’s crew were moving swiftly to get the HMG back online. In front of them, the Vehicle 1’s casualty was dragged to the rear and out of the firing line while the rest got ready to engage the Spetznatz on the roof. 

Before the .50cal could bring the pain however, a flurry of grenades from both the launcher on the tower and the team on the roof landed amongst them. The blasts took out everyone from the lead vehicle, massively reducing the ability for the convoy to defend itself.

Meanwhile, the VIP’s vehicle had continued racing forward. As they approached the next junction they were shocked to see three Russians in siege gear and carrying shields stepping out into the road. Worse, when they opened up, the rounds were actually capable of penetrating SUV’s armour and caused suppression.

With the sounds of the last of the militia being taken out and the team leader in the back shouting at his driver to push it, the SUV managed to rally and kept racing forward. As long as they could keep moving, there was still a chance the Emir could escape.

That is until a penetrating shot ripped straight through the door and killed the driver. The vehicle came to a halt, right next to the rest of the Russians. It would take an agility test for the crew inside to be ready to go again as they would need to move the casulty out of the way before they could drive away.

(At this point Ivan quietly reminded us that as this was a US vehicle, the driver should be on the other side. We decided to fix that)

The squad leader managed to rally off most of the suppression but the crew fluffed the agility roll (the driver must have been wedged in place). All around, the Russians were getting closer but the armour was holding. That is, until one of the Russians placed a breaching charge on the door and pulled out a clacker.

I was too busy rolling dice at this point but a ridiculous bit of fighting went down. As the door blew away (stunning the crew inside), the Russian breacher stepped away and his buddy engaged the bodyguard behind the door in close combat. The first bodyguard went down but this just let the team leader put an automatic burst of SMG fire into the attacker. It didn’t cause any damage but it did cause some suppression. Next turn, the attacker shrugged off his suppression and climbed in the back of the car to engage the team leader into close combat, leading to the VIP being exposed as the team leader was taken out. More concerning, the passenger in the front finally got his act together and moved a into position to drive away.

Of course at this point, the driver was very aware of the angry Russian in the back seat trying to abscond with the VIP. Buckling in, he put his foot on the gas and slammed straight into the rear of the car parked across the road. Rather than the gentle tap that would have thrown the operative out of the car, the slam sent the car spinning away. It smashed past some boxes before landing heavily and exploding, immolating all those onboard. I rolled super high on the collision table and the follow-up armour penetration table roll, hence the rather destructive finale.

I had great games all weekend but I think this one takes the top slot. It was so evocative, from the first IED blast through the SUV being breached to the crazy attempt to escape at the end; As Craig said afterwards, it felt just like the opening scenes of a movie. Despite losing all of my guys and the VIP being immolated by my own mistake (man these Argo mercs suck), I still had a really good time.


Finished reading? For the rest of the battle reports and more on the event itself, the main post is here!